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The following is a fairly typical online description of an organization. See what you think of it.

About Our Company

“Broaden Your Printing Horizons”

peacockPerched on the cutting edge of publishing instrument technology, ABC responds to the speed of change. We are very proud to offer a catalog of sleek, award-winning printers designed to satisfy your every printing desire. To best serve our clients, we have assembled an accomplished team of synergetic sales associates and customer service agents to assist you in every step of your ABC Experience, beginning the moment you decide to order one of our printers. With employees spread across three continents and a long tradition of building state-of-the-art office machinery, you will find ABC is a company of innovation, always thinking outside the printer box.

I’ve worked for a CEO or two who would have absolutely loved this (especially if I could have worked in the word “transformational”). Have you? It sounds great at first pass—all those buzzwords: synergetic, state of the art, innovation, outside the box, cutting edge. But what does it say?

  • There’s a catalog. And they’re proud to offer it.
  • Salespeople will help you, but after you decide to order.
  • “Publishing instrument technology” might mean anything; it’s quite the jargon.

Here’s the source. Be sure to look in the upper right corner of the page. Then let me know: Could this be a parody of your organization’s writing style?

P.S. Here is the perfect how- to-make-a-corporate-video-without-saying-anything example.


Texting: What’s so uncool about being a good speller?

My toughest challenge as a writer these days is texting. Not because I don’t grasp the technology or understand the convenience — I do.

I just can’t force myself to misspell words.

My cell phone doesn’t make typing easy, so entire sentences take effort. Where my 14-year-old would type “wht RU waring 2 movie?” I’d text, “What are you wearing to the movie?”, conjunctions and all.

“Mom, by the time you do all that, I’d be on my third or fourth text.” (Big eye roll.)

“At least no one would think I don’t know how to spell ‘wearing.'”

“You are so weird.”

As a copywriter and PR practitioner, I’ve spent decades trying to get people to use clear language in their communications, to never assume their audience knows what they’re talking about, and to avoid jargon like the plague.

Textspeak goes against all of that.

We didn’t have this problem with e-mail. Users were taught that messages wouldn’t always be received the way they were intended. A concise message can seem clipped. All caps reads like shouting. Be polite.

Textspeak is this generation’s secret code. They don’t want to be widely understood. They gloat over their shared abbreviations. It makes them cool.

I’m taking a stand against textspeak. Enough adults can’t spell already; let’s not breed a generation who spells without apostrophes and writes “nite” instead of “night.”

That’s the kind of laxity that brought us words like “ginormous.”

P.S. My favorite online dictionary is m-w.com. You can hear pronunciations and play word games — tell your boss it’s your daily vocabulary lesson.

For the more philanthropic, FreeRice.com lets you help feed the world while you learn new words — even more justification for that boss of yours.